Spotlight Series: Martoinne Williams

February 24, 2022 - By Lauren Rios

The road to graduation wasn’t always an easy one for Martoinne Williams, CBU Online graduate class of 2016. After several attempts of enrolling and dropping out of college, he decided school wasn’t for him. He was able to land a job without a degree and was content with his career.

“School was not on my radar,” Williams said. “I was convincing myself that everyone goes to college to get a good paying job and I already had that.”

Williams’ wife posed the question, “what happens when you don’t want to do this anymore?” Williams thought to himself that day would never come. Shortly after their conversation that day came, and Williams found himself at a crossroads in life.

After talking to his brother about California Baptist University’s online program, Williams began to do extensive research into different degree programs and flexible options. He took a chance and applied, but he was hesitant to dive into the world of higher education since he had struggled to graduate high school with a D average.  

“I thought CBU Online probably won't let me in,” Williams said. “But it’d be perfect if they did because I could finally finish my degree. I could finally do this thing that I thought was impossible.”

To his surprise, Williams was accepted into the Bachelor of Arts Communication program, but self-doubt started to creep in. He turned to his biggest support, his wife, to help push him to complete the program.

“I thought I can’t do this,” Williams said. “She kept reminding me why I started in the beginning.”

Throughout the program, Williams had professors who were supportive and cheered him on every step of the way. From phone calls to emails, he was able to connect on a personal level while learning in an asynchronous environment.

“I think it’s so important to be willing to put yourself out there and ask for support,” Williams said. “Especially with the online faculty they are more than willing to help. I think it’s a huge thing to recognize that there are plenty of resources available.”

In 2016 ahead of his graduation, Williams experienced a devastating loss to his family with the passing of his grandfather, and shortly after, his sister. His first thought was to put an immediate hold on his education, but his professors reached out to offer condolences and understanding in his difficult time. Not only were they accommodating, but they also wanted to pray with him.

“Not only do I have a professor who understands that I have things going on, but I have a professor who’s like ‘can I just be in this with you?’” Williams said. “I felt part of a community, and I will never forget that.”

Williams went on to graduate with an improved GPA and a passion for communicating with others. He put his passion into action and became an international motivational speaker. To date, he has spoken to over 60,000 people on issues that matter such as diversity and inclusion, transformative hope and more. He founded his motivational speaking and life coaching business, Williams Inspired, LLC and has given a TEDxtalk.

To learn more about how you can start your journey with CBU Online, please visit this link.